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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Rumors Are a Millstone for Greco

January 13, 2002|MIKE TERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Michelle Greco keeps hearing the rumors. She got pregnant. Her grades were bad.

And then there was this one: UCLA Coach Kathy Olivier conspired to sideline the senior until next year, when a strong recruiting class is scheduled to arrive.

Greco, 21, is sitting out the season at UCLA, but not for any of those reasons. She has a history of concussions. A series of preseason tests convinced UCLA doctors she was in danger of another injury, and they have refused to clear her to return to the team. She hasn't played since Dec. 1.

Greco is both amused and irritated by the continued gossip.

"It's frustrating knowing that people aren't buying my story," Greco said. "Why do I have to prove to people why I'm sitting out? It's kind of sad to me to think people have been making up rumors about me.

"I don't want people to think that I've gotten pregnant, or I can't pass my classes. That's offensive."

She does understand, however, how the grist for the rumor mill was created. Greco and UCLA officials were vague on the details regarding her condition, and on the amount of testing she has undergone. And there was the fact she played in five games, averaging 26.3 points before being shut down.

"I was honest," Greco said. "I may not have been overly up front with every little detail, but it still should not be a cause for people to blow things out of proportion."

She underwent tests before the season and most came out fine--except one. That test result, which UCLA officials said was not available until after the season started, has her sitting.

"I think they're trying to be cautious," Greco said of team physicians. "So it's weird--I don't know when I'm going to play. It's not like there's a timetable on my brain."

She hates missing today's game against USC at Pauley Pavilion.

"I can't describe the feeling when you run out [on the floor] before the game," said Greco, who led the Pacific 10 in scoring (19.9) last year and has averaged 13.2 points against the Trojans.

"We hear our band, then you hear the USC band try to top it. The rivalry creates so much extra fire in you."

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